SPOTLIGHT September 2022: Ayoka Chenzira, filmmaker, educator, transmedia storyteller

Ayoka Chenzira is a pioneering Black filmmaker who has pushed the boundaries of where cinema can go. As an educator, she has encouraged new generations of women to find and raise their voices as they pursue careers in the liberal arts. Her dedication to ensuring that authentic African American experiences find their way into the mainstream of American society enriches us all.

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ALMA’S RAINBOW – Reviewed by Marilyn Ferdinand

While all Black filmmakers need more recognition, the award-winning independent producer, director, animator, Ayoka Chenzira has been particularly in need of rediscovery. Visual media have been made richer by her focus on developing stories of Black life and educating the next generation of Black filmmakers, including her daughter HaJ, her collaborator on HERadventure, an online, interactive fantasy film posted on Chenzira’s website and YouTube channel. Now, Academy Film Archive, The Film Foundation, and Milestone Films have produced a 4K restoration of her only feature film, Alma’s Rainbow (1994), in which a teenage girl, her mother, and her aunt all come of age in different ways.

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SPOTLIGHT May, 2022: Domee Shi, Animator, Director, Pixar VP of Creative

It has been an incredible decade for animator and director Domee Shi. Beginning as a story intern at Pixar in 2011, she was promoted in April of this year to Vice President of Creative for the company where she has spent her entire professional career. She also won an Academy Award and directed a feature film along the way.

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SPOTLIGHT April 2022: Maya Cade, Journalist and Curator

Maya Cade is an accomplished, articulate communicator whose invaluable resource and audience development work broaden our understanding of the Black experience and film culture. Her Black Film Archive not only reveals white representations of Blackness, but also how the Black community has seen itself in feature films, shorts, documentaries, and other media. We believe this greater understanding will result in more nuanced, informed films that can help hasten the cause of equality for all people.

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SPOTLIGHT January 2022: Jacqueline Stewart, Film Scholar, Archivist, and Curator

As a deeply committed film scholar whose work is resurrecting forgotten figures—particularly African American artists—in cinematic history, Jacqueline Stewart is changing face of American culture. Her contributions as an educator, curator, archivist, author, and popular presenter will ensure that diversity both of narrators and narratives will enrich our culture for years to come.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2021: Ari Wegner, Cinematographer, THE POWER OF THE DOG and ZOLA

While she won’t speculate on her own awards prospects, Ari Wegner recently told me how happy she is to see the way women are now being more welcomed in the field of cinematography. She hopes this will continue to increase as female DPs start to see the recognition that has eluded them for so long. She discusses both the art and science of filmmaking with such a degree of passion and poetry, that her love for the medium is contagious. She is a leader, a champion, and a gifted artist, giving the world not only beautiful images, but a sense of hope and fascination too.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Lumiere Festival honors Kinuyo Tanaka with retrospective – Brandy McDonnell reports

The late, legendary Japanese actor and filmmaker Kinuyo Tanaka will be honored with a retrospective at the 2021 Lumiere Festival, set for Oct. 9-17 in Lyon, France. [Lumiere Festival photo][/caption]The late, legendary Japanese actor and filmmaker Kinuyo Tanaka will be honored with a retrospective at the 2021 Lumiere Festival, set for Oct. 9-17 in Lyon, France.

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SPOTLIGHT October 2021: Kinuyo Tanaka, Japanese Golden Age Actor, Director, and Lumière Honoree

2021 was the year the film world rediscovered Japanese actor and director Kinuyo Tanaka. Tanaka acted in more than 200 films for some of the greatest directors Japan ever produced during a career that spanned from 1924 through 1976—just a year before her death. Her work as a director, however, is largely unknown, but thanks to the restoration of some of her films by The Japan Foundation, audiences are gaining access to her ground-breaking work.

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SPOTLIGHT September 2021: Jane Campion, feminist filmmaker, Dame Companion and Lumiere Honoree

Jane Campion has furthered the cause of women in film by holding steady to her own extraordinary aesthetic, unique career choices and creation of dazzling visual poetry. Throughout her career, her feminist approach to filmmaking has been expressed in her distinctive vision and directorial style, and in her consistent creation of strong, complex and fully fleshed out female characters who rank among the finest, most compelling in film history.

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